I must confess to not being able to keep up with the postings. I have just returned from a 6 day romantic vacation in a distant city and am trying to catch up on the work required in my "no work" market garden.
An intellectual interest of mine is general [and more specific, too] systems theory which first formally came to my attentention in physicist-philosopher Fritjof Capra's book, "The Turning Point", early 80s. Chapter 9 of that book, "The Systems View of Life" describes in detail the difference between simple mechanical systems and more complex living systems, for example, an ecological systems.
In linear systems the transactions between the various subsystems is linear and sequential. Such systems are often created by human beings and will wear out, run down, in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics, the law of entropy. A fine example would be a conventional corn farm, perhaps in a soybean rotation.
In living systems the transactions are manifold and simultaneous. They organize themselves, maintain themselves, even transcend themselves. The grass grows, the sun shines, and the birds churp all at the same time--they don't take turns. A natural biotic community, such as a woodland, illustrates this perfectly. The characteristic quality is that such systems are self-organizing and there's no doubt in my mind that this is the kind of system Mr. Fukuoka had in mind for the natural, do-nothing, know-nothing natural farm.
In my own 8 years of market gardening inspired by the model of the self-organizing system, I have had some success in in getting the garden to plant itself by nuturing opportunities for self-sowing. We have made a lot of money [well, relatively speaking anyway] on sunflowers, zinnias, larkspur, bachelor buttons, ornamental amaranths [actually too much success here], calendulas that just planted themselves. If people are thought of as part of the garden system [as I think of myself] it could possibly be said that the garden system actually picks the flowers, takes them to market, sells them and brings back the money. Since my son and his significant actually do that, I can see some success in getting the self-organizing model to actually work.
Dr. Capra identifies mechanical systems with Newton and Descartes and the living model with the new physics developed early in the last century. Alas, although the new sciences are almost a hundred years old. the huge majority of people, including, I think, a lot of scientists who should know better, are still thinking exclusively on the old Cartesian model.
Aaron, I would be very interested in looking over your work.
Best wishes to all . . .
John, Fresno, CA
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